The Swarm

April 17, 2008

Kanye West's Glow in the Dark tour: first review

TDS Editors

(Photo via Kanye’s Blog)

The Daily Swarm reader Joan Hiller went to opening night and writes in:

KANYE WEST/RIHANNA/LUPE FIACSO/N.E.R.D.—first night of the Glow In The Dark tour, Key Arena, Seattle, WA, in case you were wondering….

So, there’s an 11 PM curfew at the Key Arena, enforced by the City of Seattle via an insane fine that’s reportedly assessed per minute, and I’m PRETTY sure that Kanye lost most of the first night of the tour’s guarantee, because he didn’t go on until 10:30 and kept at it until midnight (clearly first night of tour issues being worked out.) Workers at the Key kept saying, “Well, we’ll have to pull the plug at eleven…” but man, it became apparent super, super quickly that ain’t nobody pulling the plug on Mr. West, or the 20,000 screaming, neon-clad fans there. People were going BAT SHIT.

Biggest highlight: huge, amazing landscape set complete with reflective rolling hills and a rising, moving, smoke-spouting, underlit and overlit platform that was angled at about 30 degrees at times so that, with all the projections firing, Kanye was standing/floating in multiple planetary and atmospheric spacescapes—lava floes, explosions, waterfalls and galaxies. Another bold move: the set was positioned so that the band & backup singers comprised in an orchestra pit—they remained unseen unless you were in the nosebleeds, which I was, so Kanye, in all his glory, appeared as one emcee in space solely commanding the 20,000 attendees. He was all you needed.

Biggest question mark/forehead-slapping moment: the set is super narrative—one song in, a computer robot spaceship named JANE is introduced; Kanye TALKS TO her with sweat-soaked soap opera delivery on several occasions between songs. You wonder how he’s not fucking laughing during this; it’s clear melodrama. The story: Mr. West is stuck on another planet after his spaceship has crashed, and he’s on a mission to deliver creativity to planet Earth. (Parliament/Funkadelic, anyone?) Actual example:

Kanye: “Jane—I can’t get off this planet! I’ve been here for so long—for one year! I GOTS to get me some PUSSY! Can you help me?”

Jane the Computer Robot Spaceship (with cold, automated innuendo): “I can help you with that, Mr. West.” (Jane the Computer Robot Spaceship turns into a 3D oscillating naked lady, crowd goes wild, Kanye he launches into “Golddigger”.)

Another highlight: He did “Hey Mama” on his knees, with only white lighting and reverence.

Rihanna: Sadly left a lot to be desired—she sang amazingly and looked fucking smokin’ on the jumbotron but her dancers were all out of sync and were clearly experiencing some first-night foibles, especially where props were concerned, and I don’t think she’s got the whatever goin’ yet to realize that she’s got to do big, sweeping movements to entertain a fucking arena. I wish I could pull off her neon MAC lipstick, but that’ll never happen. Just sayin’.

Merch: Amazing, amazing shirts—most notably, one that’s just a b&w of Kanye, with “Mr. West” in courier typeface underneath. There are also $10 plastic white shades, and gold Rihanna hoop earrings that were $35 and said “Bad Gal” and would probably turn your ears green. Also, THEY SOLD 8 X 10 GLOSSIES. I’m glad people are bringing those back. Maybe they never went anywhere?

Only caught the end of Lupe, whose last records I fucking love, and missed N.E.R.D….

Hot tip: shell out the money and get seats that directly face the stage.

(Photo via Kanye’s Blog)

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